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Syrian TV: Massive explosion in Damascus causes casualties

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This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian fire fighters extinguishing burning cars after a car bomb exploded in the capital's western neighborhood of Mazzeh, in Damascus, Syria, Monday, April. 29, 2013. State-run Syrian TV says the country's prime minister has escaped an assassination attempt when a bomb went off near his convoy. Syrian TV says Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi was unhurt in the attack in the capital's western neighborhood of Mazzeh. This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian fire fighters extinguishing burning cars after a car bomb exploded in the capital's western neighborhood of Mazzeh, in Damascus, Syria, Monday, April. 29, 2013. State-run Syrian TV says the country's prime minister has escaped an assassination attempt when a bomb went off near his convoy. Syrian TV says Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi was unhurt in the attack in the capital's western neighborhood of Mazzeh. Image source: Associated Press

   DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian state TV and residents of Damascus say a powerful explosion has hit the country's capital.

   The nature of Tuesday's explosion in the heart of Damascus was not immediately clear. Resident say they heard a powerful blast and saw thick, black smoke billowing from behind a group of buildings.

   Gunfire was heard in the area immediately after the Tuesday morning blast.

   Syrian TV says the explosion occurred in the central district of Marjeh, although the target was not immediately clear.

   The blast comes a day after Syria's prime minister narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in the heavily protected area of Damascus.

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